You Know, Hitler Was Pretty Good on the Environment




Over at National Catholic Register Mark Shea carries water for socialist pro-abort Bernie Sanders:


Sanders?  The pro-abort?  But, but! Cardinal Ratzinger said in 2004:

Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

Yes. He certainly did. And he’s absolutely right. And if my reader were in any way indicating he supported Sanders because he supports abortion, he’d be in exactly the pickle Cardinal Ratzinger describes. But my reader is obviously not trying to support abortion. What he’s trying to do is support the other things Sanders advocates, many of which are obviously and immeasurably better than what Trump advocates. And in a contest with a GOP candidate such as Trump whose views on abortion are indistinguishable from Sanders, there is therefore a case to be made that my reader can do so without incurring any sin at all.

Sez who? Sez Cardinal Ratzinger in the same letter:

A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.

In other words, if you vote for somebody who advocates grave evil (abortion, euthanasia, torture, etc.) because of the grave evil they advocate, you are guilty of advocating the grave evil yourself and therefore are unworthy to present yourself for communion.

But! If you vote for somebody, not because you support their advocacy of grave evil, but because you are trying to prevent an even graver evil, or because you think there is some proportional good supporting them will achieve, you are not committing a sin and are only offering remote material cooperation with evil. Bottom line, the Church says that you can, under certain circumstances, vote for a pro-abort candidate. Meaning it is on the cards that, under certain circumstances, my reader might be able to vote for Bernie Sanders. That’s not me talking, remember. That’s the future Benedict XVI talking.


Go here to read the rest.  What Mark leaves out of his analysis of course is an examination of proportionate reasons.  What would be the proportionate reasons to justify support of a candidate who is ardently in favor of abortion on demand, a policy that has snuffed out 58 million unborn lives and counting?  “You know, I am not in favor of slavery, but John Breckinridge has a good policy on tariffs, so he gets my vote and I hope he beats Lincoln.”  “Well sure, Hitler hates Jews, but he is kind to animals so he gets my vote”  “Yeah, Henry Wallace is a dupe of the Soviets, but I love his agricultural policy so I am voting for him instead of Truman or Dewey.”   It is instructive in Mark’s piece the passion with which he goes after Donald Trump.  I am not much more favorable to Trump than Shea is, but he brings no such guns to bear against Sanders.  Shea rightfully doubts Trump’s pro-life conversion without noting that Sanders is not merely a pro-abort, but is a true fanatic on the subject.  Go here to read just how extreme he is.

Shea of course says that once again he will not vote for a major party candidate because none of them are pure enough for him.  However, his facebook postings clearly show the high regard he has for Sanders.  When it comes to abortion and voting, for some time Shea has been doing his level best to convince his readers that abortion simply is not a very important consideration when it comes to voting, largely due to his manifest hatred of the GOP and his growing fondness for the Left.

David Griffey at Daffey Thoughts, has some decidedly non-daffey thoughts on Shea and Sanders:

But I noticed something.  Over at National Catholic Register, Mark Shea steps forward and gives a name to this rule.  For years, Mark joined other Catholics on the Internet who strongly suggested that voting was inherently dangerous to one’s soul.  At least voting in a national election.  Especially voting in the presidential races.  While he never came out and said it was impossible, the overwhelming focus of his writings was on calling people to the higher way, rather than holding your nose and choosing the lesser of two evils.

Witness this piece from 2011.  There is little difference between it and the one over at the Register this month.  But there is one glaring difference.  Mark tends to do a Jekyll and Hyde in his ministry.  In the world of Catholic talks and Catholic publications, Mark can come off as a kindly, knowing and wise teacher who understands our struggles and lovingly tries to help guide us along the narrow way. 

In the world of Social Media, however, Mr. Hyde takes over and it’s a bizarre Catholic version of Jack Chick without the charm.  Stereotypes, laughably dismissible logic, false accusations, demonstrably flawed premises all dominate.  And any who call him out are subject to almost slanderous attacks, tribalist memes, and accusations of not trusting in Jesus or listening to the Church.  In that second context, Mark never gave ground on the issue of ‘voting for the lesser evil.’  Every time it was brought up – unless it was brought up by a personal friend of Mark’s – it was smacked down.  It was called out as selling one’s soul for partisan tribalism.  It was outright condemned.  If Mark advocated for a politician, like Ron Paul, it was because Mark was clear that the individual in no way supported that which was evil.  Those who in any way tried to hold out for the lesser of two evils were taken to the verbal woodshed.

Yes, in his Catholic Publications persona, Mark conceded that it could be done.  After all, the Bishops make it clear that it can be done.  But Mark was careful never to condone it in a specific case, and he always stepped forward and pointed to the higher way as the preferred alternative. 

And yet now, in 2016, Mark breaks that trend.  While still insisting he will remain forever and happily in the bleachers rather than join a team and help it win, Mark acknowledges that one can, in fact, choose the lesser of the two evils in good faith.  Which he acknowledged before.  But this time, he puts a name to the choice when he gives it a thumbs up, and that name is Bernie Sanders.  Bernie Sanders, a man who doesn’t simply and humbly support one or two intrinsic evils, but one who has made it his career to push zealously the boundaries for multiple sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance, as well as ending this laughable notion that all peoples and religions can be excused from bowing before the secular Left. 

I just found it odd.  After so many years of the barks and yells about the higher way, when Mark finally chose to be specific about that glaring exception he only hinted at in the past, he did it for a man who exemplifies everything that conservative and traditional believers loathe – and fear – from the emergent Left.  And Mark does so by saying that apart from the single sin mentioned (abortion) in his piece, Bernie’s policies and ideas are for the greater good, which then cover the multitude of other policy sins. 

Take it for what it’s worth.  Before I stopped going to Mark’s Facebook page, he still said he’s a conservative at heart.   Exactly how that works in this context, I can’t begin to say. I must have missed something.  But it makes me worry that such an influential voice in Catholic lay ministries could  do such a thing, and how many Catholics will, by extension, follow thorough with the approach.



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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. Does seem inconsistent to say the least…. but to break his stance of purity for Bernie?!?! Richard Rich at least got Wales.

  2. Mark Shea is clearly in need of prayers. It’s been said that the more influential a person becomes, the harder the devil tries to corrupt him. Reading his recent work, I fear for his soul.

  3. Ironic from the guy who yelled “consequentialism!” every time it was suggested in the torture debates that it might be a just and proportional thing to inflict some pain on a terrorist who knows where the ticking bomb is hidden. Now he discovers that mirabile dictu!– the Church does in fact condone the use of reason and making judgments about proportionality when faced with imperfect moral choices.

    It’s a sign of his pride and insecurity that he can only admit this principle when it suits his urges, in this case, his urge to support a candidate who embraces not just every social immorality, but also the evil of socialism which has been repeatedly condemned by the Church. I can’t think of a candidate *less* worthy of a Catholic vote than Sanders. Even Hilary is not as unabashedly anti-property and openly socialist.

  4. In the NCR article Mark Shea is quoted, “… as well as the preposterous nomination of pro-abort Harriet Miers …”. Now I was no fan of that nomination and there were concerns that she didn’t have much of a track record on Roe vs. Wade or most other legal issues. However, I have never seen any indication that she was pro-abortion and quite a few suggestions that she was actually anti-abortion. This is disgraceful. He is falling for the typical liberal fallacy, A is bad, person B believes things that I don’t like, so therefore B must believe A.

    I think the biggest problem is that Shea seems to understand politics less than any commentator, left or right, who regularly comments on it.

  5. Hardly surprising. The Shea of today would have fit right in writing for the Vox Nova of 8 years ago. He’s distinguishable from Morning’s Minion et al only in being slightly less overtly partisan, but even that appears to be changing. Say hello to the new guard at the “Debate Club at Auschwitz”.
    The people commenting on his blog and /or his Facebook page in days gone by would have been a who’s who of orthodox Catholics from around St. Blog’s and elsewhere. Today, those venues are filled with a veritable freak show of hard left Catholics whose views are more in line with the DNC platform than the Catechism and with an amen corner of malleable Catholic sycophants who can’t think for themselves without having Shea tell them how to do it.

  6. It seems Shea’s clinging to the term “conservative” exists for one reason and one reason only; to convince those who love the Lord Jesus and the teachings of the Church that they should sit still and quiet while he promotes unrestrained progressivism.

  7. Ironic from the guy who yelled “consequentialism!” every time…

    Thanks, Tom. I prepared and deleted about 3 possible comments of the same thing and you up and expressed better what I was trying to articulate.

    So, amen!

  8. Why are you even dignifying anything written by Mark Shea?

    He is a rabid dog. You are best not going near him.

  9. RodH: DING, DING, DING we have a winner.

    I’ve been saying it for years: Shea simply uses his supposedly orthodox Catholicism to give cover to his rabid progressivism. And in the process, leading many gullible Catholics astray. Something is terrible wrong at EWTN and its newspaper the NCRegister, that they continue to allow this man a voice. Mother Angelica would have given him a good old-fashioned tongue-lashing, and sent him packing a long time ago.

  10. Steve D: I agree with you about the Register. In general, really, and not just about Shea. The more I read the slant given by the writers, the more I wonder if they are trying to make it a Reporter and not a Register…

  11. “The Register published this trash!? I hope the NCR and Shea’s comment section is flooded with demands for his removal!”

    Stephen, I wrote to Dan Burke, who was then and may stiil be, the head publisher at the Register about Shea. I got no response.

  12. There is no substantive difference between a national socialist of the German Reich and a democrat socialist of the American left. Elect a Bernie Sanders and open persecution of the Church will begin.
    As for Mark Shea, liberalism is a mental defect or disease.

  13. Voting For Democrats Hitler -Berlin: 1938
    Dear Friends in Christ, We encourage all faithful believers to vote in the upcoming elections which are so important to the future of our cities and of our beloved country which was once a shining star in Christendom.
    You can in good conscience vote for Adolf Hitler, but you cannot vote for him for the wrong reasons, which would be a mortal sin. You, as we all do, know that his government has killed millions of people, and millions of Jews, including thousands of Jewish babies, and that this will continue for the foreseeable future since he has told us this will be so and this is his Party’s publicly stated policy. If you vote for him and his government because you want them to kill Jews, that would be a mortal sin. You cannot vote for Hitler so that more Jewish babies will be killed, that would be a mortal sin.
    If you vote for him and his Jew-Killing government, it must be for good reasons. If you like the fact that they have made the trains run on time, and do not vote for him so Jews will be killed, that will be not only morally permissible, it will be an act of virtue. If you vote for him, not because more Jewish babies will die horrible deaths if he is elected (which, of course, is absolutely certain), knowing your own tax dollars are paying for the killing, but because he has increased employment here in the Fatherland and will continue to do so, that will be a civil good in accord with your moral duty as a good citizen. If you vote for Hitler because he has all but eradicated poverty and hunger (by his focus on preparing for the war that is now inevitable), in accord with the Savior’s Sermon on the Mount and the Gospel’s clarion call to social justice – you can proceed in good faith to vote for him and any Nazi Party candidate for any office, knowing you have followed your conscience and you will have no sin to confess. We all know that our tax money funds the Nazis killing programs, provides the money to run the Death Camps, pays for the ovens that cook away most of the evidence of the dead bodies, and pays for the fuel for the trains that bring the people to the camps. You cannot pay your taxes with the intent that these things be done. If however you pay your taxes, as all good citizens should, so that children (the children of good Germans) will be properly educated or, for example so that foreign workers here are properly housed and fed, then you can in good conscience pay your taxes and win merit in heaven for doing so.
    Also, you can vote for any member of the Nazi party, some of whose soldiers wear the Death’s Head Symbols, especially those Nazis who say they do not support the intrinsic evils of death and of racism that the Party has espoused for years and has made a reality here. You will know who they are if they say things like: “Yes, The Nazi Party has done and will continue to do these atrocities, but I am personally opposed to such atrocities;” or “I am personally opposed to gassing Jews so vote for me;” “It is their right to choose to kill Jewish babies, but this is against my personal conscience;” “I can keep my personal views on holocausts private, and vote for the common good of all citizens;” or “My religion, whose principles are explicitly contrary to those of the Nazi Party, will remain a private thing for me.”
    Pay attention: if a candidate says he is personally opposed to Hitler or he is personally opposed to Jewish genocide, you can in good conscience vote for such a candidate and we encourage this; even if such a candidate takes part in the public rallies with their clear quasi-religious message in support of Hitler. If a candidate says he is personally opposed to your tax money funding killing, paying for gas chambers, and buying the furnaces at Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwitz and other locations, and you know what they are used for, you can still vote for such a candidate.
    If a candidate says he is personally opposed to denying your religious liberty, even though you know the Party will continue through legislation to do this, it will be an act of virtue to vote for such a candidate.
    Yours in Christ,
    German & Austrian Church Leaders

  14. Guy:

    Your satire is biting! And…hard to distinguish from Shea’s position.

    Now Shea is just one guy who is devoid of even a theology degree. He has no credentials and is a guy just like most normal people, a guy with an opinion. So it is easy to discount what he says and draw the obvious direct connection between his bankrupt arguments and the satire you so masterfully present.

    What is horrific and truly demonic is the vociferous support for genocide that has been provided by Catholic Bishop after Catholic Bishop as they stand in “solidarity” with Democrat after Democrat and have for MANY years after the changes in the Democrat party erased all moral justification to do so. In fact, what we have in the USA is such a blending, such a syncretism, I long ago began calling the movement the “Democatholic Party” for it best describes the inseparable brotherhood of Catholics with the Democrat Party and the wholly ghastly union of what should be diametrically opposed groups. Democatholics have been using precisely your satirical reasoning but treating it as a legitimate defense for supporting abortion, the advance of the homosexual agenda and rank feminism for decades.

    I was very encouraged to see the USCCB voting recommendations this year as it shows some form of break with the past. However, not yet do we see condemnation of a truly meaningful form or what might better be called true catechesis on the issue of the butchery of millions and why one cannot support a party who promotes it and indeed has it as a permanent plank in its platform. Of course, Catholics are not supposed to do things such as “uncharitably” condemn anything it seems. You know, except “fundamentalists” who actually try to follow Christ and live according to the teachings of the Catholic faith.

  15. Greg Mockeridge:
    Dan Burke is part of the problem at EWTN and the NCRegister, I’m not surprised you didn’t get a response from him. He’s just another part of the neoCatholic / establishment cabal infecting the Church these days. Most are converts to the faith, trying to make their living off the Church.

    Rod Halvorsen,
    Look no further than Bernardin’s “seamless garment” argument to understand the mess we’re in today in AmChurch. This homosexual prelate did much to destroy the Church in America. Of course, Shea is a big fan of the seamless garment.

  16. Steve D; Right you are about the seamless garment and Shea’s elevating it to his own personal dogma.

    But hey, don’t chuck all of us converts out with Shea’s bathwater! 😉

  17. “Greg Mockeridge:
    Dan Burke is part of the problem at EWTN and the NCRegister, I’m not surprised you didn’t get a response from him. He’s just another part of the neoCatholic / establishment cabal infecting the Church these days. Most are converts to the faith, trying to make their living off the Church.”

    Steve, I am not surprised either. I have been railing about the behavior of people like Shea and have written to the powers that be within the”orthodox” Catholic Media Complex for about a decade only to be treated with indifference at best and downright hostility at worst.

  18. I was permanently banned from Catholic Answers for stating what I thought were well-known and simple facts about Swedish Lutheran “Bishop” Brunne’s lifestyle and I being an ex-Lutheran, suspected Martin himself would have the lot of them gibbetted. It wasn’t meant to be a cut, it was meant to literally demonstrate how we have slid historically, to the point that now we are taking seriously what would have been simply rejected out of hand what…just a few years ago!

    So I don’t think the Register is alone in this passive acceptance of anti-Catholic culture.

  19. That one could vote for a Sanders or a Hillary in spite of their odious positions against the Right to Life because you like their other ridiculous ideas is wearing a soiled garment that won’t wash in the tub of my conscience.

  20. I saw this article and I was also concerned. If I were less charitable, I would say Mark is now another ‘poster child’ for the labor unions who spew the same garbage. Marxism

  21. Mark is attempting to meld the sacred and the profane and in the process has lost sight of the fact that some things are simply and objectively evil and can not be negotiated with for the simple reason that there is no “lesser” evil. Also, it should also be noted that Bernie Sanders is the typical 60s flower child gone to seed. While I am loathe to consign anyone to perdition, I will note that the devil need not have a long reach to snare this catch.

  22. Like they do on Amazon.com when you buy a book, “Others who bought ‘If you liked How to Sin Mortally by Voting for Democrats’, you may also enjoy Voting For Nero,” – if you liked Voting For Hitler, you might relish:

    from Catholic Lane, 24 Apr 15:

    Prostitution Politics

    I live in a brothel,
    But I am not a whore.
    Personally opposed to impurity,
    I’m chaste to the core.

    I help with the auctions,
    But no slaves are mine.
    Opposed to such servitude,
    I try to be kind.

    Working at Auschwitz,
    Folks arrive every day.
    Personally opposed to holocaust,
    What else can I say?

    In a warm den of thieves,
    I spend most of my time.
    Opposed to all thievery,
    I commit no such crime.

    I party with death,
    But never would harm a child.
    I am personally opposed to killing
    And to all murder most vile.

    I dance with the devil,
    But I’m untouched, in the lead.
    Opposed to all evil,
    I’m not self-deceived.

    I live in a brothel,
    But no whoring I know.
    Opposed to defilement,
    I’m pure as the snow.


  23. Another (internet) source of ignorant banter, Matt Yglesias, was quoted elsewhere as tweeting something like, “Aside from genocide and war, the Nazis had some good ideas.” FYI, some “good ideas” don’t make licit 58 million abortions. If you vote for abortion advancers, you likely won’t be getting into Heaven.

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